Saturday, November 29, 2008

One from the East, One from the West--USA

Two cards, both from the United States, found
their way to my mailbox today.

Is this a fun card, or what???
Amber sent me the card from Seattle, Washington
on the West Coast.
She says she thought it
was fun and random, even though she doesn't
eat sushi!
I love the card, but I don't eat sushi either.
I got a big laugh with this card!
Thank you, Amber, for the great card!
The second card comes from the East Coast.
Deborah sent me greetings from South Carolina
with this great photo of the Haig Point Range Light.
Deborah is also a lighthouse lover, and that
is why she picked this card--although her favorite
lighthouse is St. Simon's Island in Georgia.
(As a coincidence, St. Simon's is the next lighthouse
I'm planning to paint!)
Thank you, Deborah, for a wonderful card.
I really like it!

Two cards to say 'Thank You'

Fleur, who lives in Arras, France, has sent
me two beautiful cards as a 'Thank You'.
The topo card shows the Cathedral in Arras, as well as an
outdoor cafe in front of some beautiful buildings.
(I would love to sit at one of the tables under the cabana
and have coffee while I watch the people pass by! but
Fleur tells me they have snow on the ground now!)
The second card shows several places in the north of France.
In the upper left corner is Lille, the largest city in the area.
In the lower right is another view of Arras.
Thank you, Fleur, for showing me your part of France!

This very nice stamp commemorating the founding of
Quebec, Canada in 1608, brought the card from France.
I like the ancient ship with the Indians in a birch bark
canoe rowing out to meet it.

A City and a Ship, Lithuania

This pretty view card comes to me
fromn Gintare in Klaipeda, Lithuania.

Gintare says she lives in this beautiful city. These views are
of the old town. The ship in the lower right corner is the
'Heridianas' and it is the symbol of Klaipeda.
Thank you, Gintare, for sharing your city with me!
These three stamps brought Gintare's card to me.
They look like a tower with a cross on the top.

A Kaj Stenvall Postcard from Finland

My first Kaj Stenvall card comes to me
as a 'thank you' from Johanna Jokela.
I had sent a postcard to her little daughter.
Kaj Stenvall is a Finniah artist who has become quite famous for
his paintings, each of which includes 'a very familiar
looking duck'. As you can see on the card above, he is sitting
on a flag-draped couch in this picture. Many see a likeness
between this duck and Disney's Donald Duck.
Kaj Stenvall maintains a gallery of his work in Helsinki, Finland.
Three more samples of his work are below.
Thank you, Johanna, for the great Stenvall card!

There were four (or, maybe, five) stamps on Johanna's
card. I like the bears with the snowy trees because,
when I think of Finland, snow always comes to mind!

And, of course, lighthouse-hugger
that I am, I always like the
lighthouse stamps. I believe
this one is the Gustav Dalen
lighthouse west of the border
between Aland and the Finnish
archipelagos. It was built in 1947.

This is a double stamp, joined at the corners.
I have always been fascinated by the Northern Lights, which
are shown on the left stamp. And there is a beautiful
snowflake on the stamp on the right. They are joined to
each other by a silver 'sparkly' snowflake in the corner.
The little cross-shaped stamp in the lower right corner seems
to have trees on it, but I can't tell for sure because of the
I think Finland has some of the most beautiful and
unique stamps of any I have seen!

A Yummy Treat from the Netherlands

This tasty-looking treat comes to me
from Reina in the Netherlands.
Reina tells me that when a woman has a baby in the Netherlands,
she is presented with these biscuits (cookies) that are sprinkled with
anise-flavored sweets (they call the sweets 'mouses').
If the woman has a girl, she gets pink 'mouses' and if she has a boy,
she gets blue 'mouses'.
Reina said she chose this card for me because I am a mother,
a grandmother, and a great-grandmother!
Thank you, Reina, you are a 'sweet' lady!

These two unique stamps
brought Reina's card to me.
The one on the left looks
like a can of peas.
The stamp on the right is
a recipe, but I don't think
I'll be making it because I
can't read Dutch!

View from Ljubljana, Slovenia

France Preseren, a national poet of Slovenia,
first studied law. However, it is his beautiful poetry
that brought him fame.
A Wreath of Sonnets (4/14)
These tear-stained flowers of a poet's mind,
Culled from my bosom, lay it wholly bare;
My heart's a garden: Love is sowing there
Sad elegies each with my longing signed.
You are their sun whole radiance, purblind,
I seek in vain at home and everywhere,
In theatre, on promenade and square,
Midst revels where the chains of dancers wind.
How often through the town with watchful eyes
I wander, praying for a fate more kind,
Yet catch no glimpse of that elusive prize.
I shed my tears to loneliness confined:
Hence all these songs which from my love arise;
They come from where no man can sunshine find.
Rebecca sent me this view of Ljubljana, Slovenia,
where she lives. She says that this is a picture of Preseren Square.
In the middle stands a statue of France Preseren.
(See photo of statue below.)
Above his head is his muse, the lady he loved and to whom
he dedicated his best work--Julija Primic.
Preseren was poor and Julija Primic was rich and she was
unimpressed with his poetry. However, he continued to write
poems and sonnets.
Rebecca also tells me that the three bridges in the picture on the card
were the work of Slovenia's famed architect, Josef Pleswic.
The street on the left takes you to the market. The one on the right
leads to Old Ljubljana where the old buildings have 'soul',
according to Rebecca.
Thank you, Rebecca for teaching me about your city and your poet.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Juminda Tuletorn

Diana sent me this beautiful lighthouse
postcard from Estonia. She says that when she
was a little girl, she always wanted to become
a lighthouse keeper. She adds that she still has
a 'thing with lighthouses'. I understand completely,
Diana, because I also have a 'thing with lighthouses'!
2 1/2 sides of Estonia's border is coastline and
it has more than 70 lighthouses.
This lighthouse is the Juminda Tuletorn
('tuletorn' means lighthouse in Estonian). It was built
in 1937 on the biggest peninsula on Estonia's
northern shore, and was 26 meters high. In 2006, eight
metal cylinders were added to the upper shaft, and
now it stands 32 meters high, with two galleries.
Juminda Tuletorn was first painted black and white, but after the
addition, it was painted red at the top, black in the middle
and white at the bottom.
Thank you, Diana, for another great lighthouse to add to
my lighthouse postcard collection!
Diana also put some great lighthouse stamps on her card.
The one on the left is Vaindloo tuletorn, which is on a small
island in the Gulf of Finland. The other, of course, is
Juminda Tuletorn.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

A New Card from Markku

Markku sent me this lovely birch forest.
As I told him, I love it because I don't often get the chance
to see birch trees--only when I go north
(the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or Wisconsin, or Maine,
or some such place).
Thank you, Markku, for such a nice forest!

This pretty stamp carried my
forest card to me. I first thought
the little fellow on the card was
a fish swimming in the water.
However, when I looked closer,
I saw that there were trees
along the left side of the stamp so
he is a little bird.

All this talk about trees makes me think of

the poem by Joyce Kilmer, called, appropriately enough,


I think that I shall never see

A poem as lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breat;

A tree that looks at God each day

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain,

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

A Map Card from Czrch Republic

Jarca, from the city of Usti Nad Labem in the Czech
Republic, send me this nice map card.
I like it because she has marked her city on the map
(it is just to the right of the lower right corner of the flag)
and it also has the flag and the shield in the upper left corner.
And, in the upper right corner, it has two maps showing
where the Czech Republic is in relation to the world and to Europe.
This one little card gives a LOT of information and I appreciate
that very much. Many thanks to you, Jarca!
I also found two pictures of Jarca's city, Usti nad Labem on the internet.
The first one is a very modern bridge over the river. This is a neat bit
of engineering!

The second picture is of a beautiful church.
It is the Church of the Lady's Assumption
in Usti nad Labem.

And this is the stamp that brought Jarca's card.
I think, maybe, it is a 'Save the Planet' stamp as it shows
a green tree with longitude and latitude markings
superimposed over it.
It is a very nice stamp and I like the postmark beside it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Panda for Me--from Yi!

Isn't this a pretty little face?
It was sent to me by my friend, Yi, who
lives in Shanghai. She sent it in an e-mail
'thank you' for a small gift of some
seashells I had picked up on Padre Island and sent
to her.
Yi wrote:
Dear Shirley, I have received your presents.I like them very much:) These seashells have a very beautiful color,even leaving the water,they are still shining.I love the nature's present .Thank you shirley! Shirley, I prepare some giant panda's postcards for you.Hope you will like them.Attach a panda's photo.Hope you are happy every day Best Regards Yi

Thursday, November 20, 2008

California and Finland

Two more nice cards came in the mail today.
It seems that, no matter how many cards I get,
I am always thrilled with each one!
Have a look at these.

This card comes from B in Ventura, California.
It says, 'An intrepid surfer finds himself riding around Ventura
on a Fat Tire cruiser with a Vintage 70's Single Fin in hand,
patiently waiting for a swell to arrive.
As I told B, I am not a very good swimmer and I would be afraid
to try surfing, but I am very good at beachcombing and internet surfing!
Thank you, B, for this great card!
This card came fromPekka Jalonen in Loimaa, Finland.
He says this is the castle of Turku.
I love these old castles. They remind me of fairy tales, beautiful
princesses and handsome princes!
This one reminds me of one in Spangdahlem, Germany,
which was supposed to be the castle in the story of Repunzel.
Thank you, Pekka, for a lovely card.
This is the stamp on Pekka's card. I think the man in the picture
may be a carpenter. It is a nice stamp.

India and Malaysia

I received two really nice postcards yesterday
but I was so busy that I didn't have time
to post them on my blog.
However, I have them posted now!
This is a very interesting postcard. It comes from Deepak, who lives in
Mangalore, India. This is a tribal painting of the First War of Independence
in India--also know as the Great Rebellion--in 1857.
This was when the sepoys, who were native soldiers, mutinied against
the British East India Company. The results were that
1) The rebellion was suppressed,
2) It was the end of Company rule in India,
3) Control was taken by the British Crown.
The Indian Empire was created out of the East India Company territory.
Some land was returned to native rulers and other land was
confiscated by the Crown.
Deepak tells me that he works for the postal service and is
in charge of the Philatelic Bureau of Mangalore.
Thank you, Deepak, for this interesting and beautiful card!
These are the stamps on Deepak's card. The first stamp has a rose;
the second stamp shows Wilson College; and the third shows
the Madhav Institute of technology & Science in Gwalior.
This very nice card comes from Maureen in Sabah, Malaysia.
Maureen says that Kota Belus is a district in Sabah and it is known
as the 'Land of the Cowboys of the East'. Each year a big open market,
the pcture on the left of the card,
called the Tamu Besar is organized during October. She says it is a place
where all farmers, fishermen, and vendors gather each week to sell their products.
It is also a time of meeting friends, fraternizing, song, dance, a beauty
pageant of local girls, and street musicians.
In a nearby field, visitors can see the 'Cowboys of the East' as they parade
their beautifully adorned horses (lower right corner). Also to be seen
are the 'bareback water buffalo races' (upper right corner).
Such an interesting event, Maureen. Wish I could be there for
the festivities! Thank you very much for the card.

These are the stamps that brought Maureen's card to Texas. The first

one shows the dragonboat races at the Tamu Besar. The one below looks

like a piece of jewelry, and there are two bird stamps.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Postcard from Luxor

Markku, who lives in Kouvola, Finland,
sent me this wonderful card showing the columns
in the Temple of Karnak.
This beautiful stamp brought me the card
from Egypt.

I believe the stamp shows Queen Nefertiti, the Great Royal Wife
of Akhenaten. She was the Mother-in-law and probably the stepmother
of King Tuthankhamen, and she was know for her great beauty.
She is probably more famous than her husband and some have
theorized she may have even ruled as 'pharoah'.
In kthe picture on the stamp, she is shown in the conventional
pose of a pharoah striking his enemy.

The picture shows the huge pillars in the Great Hypostyle Hall,
Temple of Karnak. I was amazed at how the pillars dwarf the people!
Markku said the higher columns are 21 meters high (68.9 feet) and
the shorter ones are 'only' 13 meters (42.65 feet). He said they were
erected by RamesesII in the 13th century BC.
Looking on the internet, I found that a hypostyle hall has a flat
ceiling supported by tall columns. In the case of the Great
Hypostyle Hall at Karnak, the center aisle is supported by the taller
columns and flanked by the smaller columns. This allows windows
over the side aisles to allow light inside.
(Am I right, Markku?)

RamesesII is generally regarded as the greatest Pharoah of Egypt. He
reigned longer than any other, and is sometimes called Rameses the Great
and The Great Ancestor. Some believe him to be the Pharoah of Exodus.
I thought the Exodus pharoah was Amenhtop II. Amenhotep II was
followed by his son, Thutmose IV who was not the legitimate heir.
That honor belongs to the firstborn son, who evidently died before
taking the throne. Perhaps he was the one who died in the Passover.
If you are interested in this, you might visit

Thank you, Markku, for the beautiful card! I love it!

Two cards from the U. S. of A.

I received two cards from the USA but,
strangely enough, each had a
'foreign' element to it.

Mi, whose user name is Riceblue, sent me this card.
Mi is a Chinese student who is studying in Ames, Iowa.
She has been in the States for about a year.
The card is a picture of an antique quilt which was made
about 1940. The pattern is called 'Housetop' and is a variation
of the Half Log Cabin pattern.
As I have also done quite a bit of quilting, I was thrilled with
this card!
Thank you, Mi, for choosing such a nice card for me!

My second USA card came from David from Buffalo, N.Y.
However, this picture is of the north shore of Prince
Edward Island in Canada. This Canadian island is near
Newfoundland, where I have also lived. Many years ago, when Sam
was still in the Air Force, we lived in St. John's, Nfld.
When I look at this picture, it reminds me of the
Grand Banks of Newfoundland.
Thank you, David, for the nice 'memory' card!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Three Oriental Cards

In the last two days, I have received three
beautiful Oriental cards, each with
its own story to tell.
The first card comes from San, who is from Donggang in Taiwan.
San translated much of the main parts of the card into Chinese writing,
including her name, my name, the name of her town, and the famous
industry of the port, black tuna. San also tells me that this card pictures
the PILI puppet show (also translated) in Taiwan.
The Pili puppet show is one of the most popular TV shows in Taiwan. It began
in 1985 and still continues today. Unlike traditional puppet shows, this
one uses state-of-the-art animation to help present its fighting art.

I found this picture of some Pili Merchandise
on the internet.

These pretty flower stamps
brought Sans card to me today.
I thank you, San, for such an interesting

The second card comes from Miko, who tells me
that this is a view of Matsushima, Miyaji Prefecture. She said that Matsushima
is one of 'The three most beautiful places in Japan." She also says that
there are many small and beautiful islands in the sea of Matsushima, and
most of them are covered by Pine trees. 'Matsushima' means
'The Pine Islands' in Japanese.
The island in the picture is Zaimoku, a name that means 'woods' in Japanese.
In researching this place on the internet, I found another picture of
the same rock formation. However, it was shown as an arch, which has
now collapsed, leaving the unique tower of rock. Zaimoku is the most
famous of the islands of Matsushima.

And here are some more beautiful
flower stamps, these being
from Japan.
Thank you, Miko, for the nice card and stamps!

The third of my Oriental cards is a view of Mount Fuji in Japan.
However, it was sent to me by Mandy, an American teacher of English
in the Peoples Republic of China. She lives in Nanjing, Jiangsu.
Mount Fuji is 3776 meters high, and it is Japan's highest mountain.
It has a nearly perfect shaped volcano, and it has been dormant since 1708.
At one time, it was worshipped as a sacred mountain. It is very popular
with artists and with common people.

This very pretty stamp was on Mandy's card and, although
I cannot read Chinese, it looks like it has a large bird
flying across a river and, perhaps, over the world.
Thank you, Mandy, for the beautiful card and for another
chance to indulge in my passion for research!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Two from Sisko, One from Isabella

Today is the first day I have had any Postcrossing
mail since October 31!
However, todays's mail brought a letter
from penpal Sisko, which also had two postcards inside,
and an official Postcrossing card from
Isabella in Italy.
How nice!!!
This is Isabella's card. It is a beautiful card of Venezia (Venice) in Italy.
Isabella asked if I had ever been here. I had to tell her,
'Sadly, no!'
She said she chose the card because, if I like places around water,
I shouldn't miss this one. I would really love to see it, Isabella!
Thank you so much for the lovely card.

Isabella's card came with a great stamp too!
This is an Olympics 2008 stamp from Italy.
Again, I thank you, Isabella!

Sisko tells me that this cathedral in in Turku, which is the nearest
big city to her home in Ypaja. She says that they go shopping in Turku.
She lived there for two years while she was studying.
This is the church that Sisko and her family attend. The picture
was taken at night during the Christmas season.
Isn't it beautiful?
Thank you, Sisko, for your cards and letter.

These beautiful stamps
brought Sisko's letter to me.
I think Finland has beautiful
Thank you, and I'll be
writing to you soon, Sisko.